Black Elk headed toward sainthood

RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - South Dakota's tallest peak was recently renamed for him and now Black Elk could receive an even higher honor.

Nicholas Black Elk was an Oglala holy man who fought in the Battle of Little Big Horn and was injured at the Wounded Knee massacre.

He also led 400 people to the Catholic Church through his spiritual teachings at different reservations in South Dakota.

In March, Black Elk's grandchildren presented a petition to the Rapid City Diocese for their grandfather to be canonized.

The 1,600 people who signed it requested that the bishop nominate Black Elk for sainthood.

Marlon Leneaugh, the diocese’s Director of Native Ministries said, "The bishop accepted the petition and of course he needed time to research and get everything lined up for this mass to take place, last Saturday. Now the cause is open and that doesn't really mean a lot, but since the cause is open now Nicholas is called 'Servant of God.' That’s the first step."

The second step, which the diocese is currently working on, is putting together documentation of miracles; which they need help from the public in doing.

Once the documentation is completed it will then be examined by a tribunal, which would then send the documentation to Rome.